How the cat became a pet

A DNA study of almost a thousand wild and domestic cats from around the world is helping to unravel the evolutionary history of this most numerous of household pets. There are five wild subspecies of nearest-relatives, including one in the Near East, from which all domesticated cats are derived, though there has been subsequent hybridization of house cats with local wild populations here and there. Modern cat breeds can trace their origin to at least five mothers domesticated in the Fertile Crescent around the same time as agriculture started, over 9,000 years ago. And, coincidentally, there’s news also today of archaeological evidence from nearby Cyprus backing up that date.